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New York Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents are occur far too often in New York. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2023 there were 3,603 large truck accidents. Truck accidents can result in serious injuries to drivers, passengers, and others on the road, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, fractures, internal organ damage, burns, lacerations, amputations, and soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, and bruises. These injuries can have long-lasting effects and require extensive medical treatment. In addition, they can result in substantial medical bills, the inability to work, and other financial problems. If you were sustained a serious injury in a truck accident as a result of the negligence of another person, contact an experienced New York truck accident lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. As an injured victim of the negligent action of another person or entity, you have the legal right to pursue damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Why Are Truck Accidents so Dangerous?

Truck accidents can be particularly dangerous due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to the average passenger vehicle which weighs around 4,000 pounds. As a result, a collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle can have devastating consequences.

The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks can make it more difficult for them to maneuver and stop quickly. This can be particularly dangerous in situations where traffic is heavy or the road conditions are poor. For example, a commercial truck may be unable to stop quickly enough to avoid a collision if the road is slick due to rain or snow.

In addition, commercial trucks often carry hazardous materials, which can make a truck accident even more dangerous. If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, it can result in serious injuries or even fatalities, particularly if the hazardous materials are released into the environment.

Truck accidents can also be dangerous due to the high speeds at which they occur. Commercial trucks are often required to travel long distances in a short amount of time, which can lead to drivers pushing themselves to stay awake and alert for longer periods of time. This can result in fatigue and drowsiness, which can impair a driver's ability to react quickly to changing road conditions.

Finally, truck accidents can be dangerous because of the potential for multiple vehicles to be involved. Because commercial trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles, a collision between a truck and a car can lead to a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles. This can result in even more serious injuries and damage.

Overall, truck accidents can be particularly dangerous due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved, the hazardous materials they carry, the high speeds at which they occur, and the potential for multiple vehicles to be involved. It's important for all drivers to be aware of these risks and to take steps to drive safely on the road.

Where Do Most Truck Accidents Occur in New York?

According to data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, most truck accidents in New York occur on major highways and interstates. Specifically, the New York State Thruway is the most commonly involved road in truck accidents in the state.

In addition, truck accidents tend to be more common in urban areas, particularly in New York City. This is likely due to the high volume of traffic and the increased likelihood of congestion and driver distraction in urban environments.

However, truck accidents can occur anywhere in the state and on any type of road. It's important for all drivers to be aware of the risks of driving near commercial trucks and to take steps to drive safely and defensively, regardless of the road they are on.

Some specific areas in New York where truck accidents are more common include the New York City metro area, the Long Island Expressway, and the I-90 corridor between Albany and Buffalo. These areas have high levels of truck traffic and can be particularly dangerous for drivers who are not familiar with the roadways or who are not used to driving in heavy traffic conditions.

Which Safety Regulations Must New York Truck Drivers Follow?

The New York truck safety law is designed to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities caused by commercial trucks. This is achieved by requiring all trucks to meet high safety standards, and by enforcing these standards through regular inspections and monitoring. By doing so, the law aims to improve the overall safety of the state's roads and highways, and to protect the public from the dangerous effects of truck accidents.

Trucks operating in New York State are subject to a range of safety laws and regulations designed to promote safety on the roads. Here are some of the key safety laws that trucks must follow in New York:

  • Size and weight restrictions: Trucks in New York must comply with size and weight restrictions, as outlined in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) Section 385. Specifically, trucks are subject to maximum weight and size limits depending on the type of vehicle and the number of axles.
  • Hours of service regulations: Federal and state laws limit the number of hours that commercial truck drivers can drive in a day and in a week to prevent driver fatigue. In New York, these regulations are outlined in VTL Section 140 and are consistent with federal regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Inspection requirements: Trucks must undergo regular safety inspections to ensure that they are in good working order and that all safety equipment is functioning properly. In New York, these inspections are conducted by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and are required annually for all commercial trucks, as outlined in VTL Section 301.
  • Insurance requirements: Trucking companies operating in New York are required to carry minimum levels of liability insurance, as outlined in VTL Section 388. Specifically, companies must carry liability insurance with a minimum coverage amount of $750,000 for property damage and bodily injury.
  • Hazardous materials regulations: Trucks carrying hazardous materials must comply with a range of safety regulations, as outlined in both state and federal law. In New York, these regulations are consistent with federal regulations issued by the FMCSA.
  • Driver qualifications: Truck drivers in New York must meet certain qualifications, including holding a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) and passing a medical exam to ensure that they are physically capable of safely operating a commercial truck. These requirements are outlined in VTL Section 501.

Overall, these safety laws and regulations are designed to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the roads and to promote safe and responsible trucking practices in New York. It's important for trucking companies and drivers to be aware of these laws and to take steps to comply with them in order to promote safety and prevent accidents.

Pursuing a Claim for New York Truck Accident Injuries

If you are injured in a New York truck accident, the compensation you may be able to receive will depend on various factors such as the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Here are some types of compensation that you may be entitled to:

  • Medical expenses: You may be able to recover the cost of your medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor visits, medications, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost income: If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover the income you would have earned during that time.
  • Property damage: If your property was damaged in the accident, you may be able to recover the cost of repairing or replacing it.
  • Pain and suffering: You may be able to receive compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish resulting from the accident. For example, in Florencio Coraizaca v. Intertek USA Inc., et al., No. 1101/11, Plaintiff Florencio Coraizaca, driving his recycling truck on the New York State Thruway, was struck by a box truck driven by Gary Delcy, who crossed the median. Coraizaca sustained two subdural hematomas and underwent surgeries. He experienced ongoing severe headaches, memory impairment, and relinquished control of his business due to permanent effects. Coraizaca sued Car Rentals Inc., the owner of Delcy's truck, and Delcy's employers, alleging negligence and vicarious liability. Delcy's employers were held liable. Oraizaca was awarded $500,000 for past pain and suffering and $750,000 for future pain and suffering.
  • Punitive damages: In some cases, you may be able to receive punitive damages if the truck driver or company was reckless or intentionally caused the accident.

Note that workers injured in truck accidents while on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including medical treatment, wage replacement, and other benefits. Employers are required by law to provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees, and injured workers should report the accident to their employer. If you are injured in a truck accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced New York truck accident lawyer who can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation through workers’ compensation or through a personal injury claim.

Who is Liable for Injuries Suffered in Truck Accidents?

If you are injured in truck accident that was the fault of someone else, the possible defendants in a claim could be a number of different individuals or entities as follows:

  • Truck driver. If the accident occurred due to the truck driver's negligence, such as speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver can be held liable. For example, in a fatal truck accident on May 10, 2007, Ivan Hernandez-Morales, a 22-year-old sanitation worker, was struck and killed by a reversing sanitation truck in Queens, New York. The truck's driver, Ashim Ali, activated the power take-off unit, causing the truck to lurch backward and pin Hernandez-Morales against a waste receptacle, resulting in fatal injuries. The defendants ultimately received a settlement of $5,117,960. See Pedro Vargas as Administrator of the Estate of Evan Hernandez-Morales v. Ashim Ali and Crown Container Co., Inc. No. 12520/08
  • Motor carrier. The company that owns the truck and employs the driver can also be held responsible for the accident, especially if they were negligent in hiring, training, or supervising their drivers, or if they failed to properly maintain the truck.
  • Cargo loaders. If the accident was caused by a defect in the truck or its parts, such as faulty brakes or tires, the manufacturer or the company responsible for maintaining the truck could be held liable.
  • Truck manufacturer or maintenance provider. If the accident was caused by a defect in the truck or its parts, such as faulty brakes or tires, the manufacturer or the company responsible for maintaining the truck could be held liable.
  • Government entities. In some cases, if the accident was caused by poor road conditions or inadequate signage, the government agency responsible for maintaining the roadways could be held liable.

The decision on whom to file your claim against depends on a number of factors including the cause of the accident. Oftentimes, more than one person or entities may be legally liable. For example, in the Pedro Vargas case, the defendants sued not only the truck driver for negligence, the also the trucking company, the maintenance company, and others. It's important to consult with a qualified truck accident attorney in New York to evaluate your case and determine the appropriate defendants to include in your lawsuit.

New York Truck Accident Verdicts and Settlements
  • $40,000,000 jury verdict awarded to estate of victim killed in a truck accident. A commercial truck struck an overpass, causing the container to separate from the truck and fly through the front of our client’s vehicle, which resulted in the death of a 63-year-old man whose wife was driving their vehicle. The vehicle swerved to avoid the container, hitting a Walmart truck, and then overturned.
  • $9,000,000 settlement awarded to the estate of a victim killed in a truck accident. A municipal worker was crushed in a motor vehicle accident in Queens.
  • $1,700,000 settlement awarded to victim of a commercial shipping truck accident. On the Long Island Expressway, an overloaded commercial shipping truck collided with a car, resulting in the plaintiff suffering severe injuries.
  • $1,400,000 settlement for victim injured by a City of New York truck. In this case the plaintiff was hit by a City of New York truck, suffering serious foot injuries.
  • $2,500,000 million settlement in a van-tractor-trailer accident. Plaintiff Kester Nicholas and Natalie Morris were passengers in a van driven by Derrick Johnson when it collided with a tractor-trailer driven by Bradley Johnson in Brooklyn. Nicholas underwent surgery for disc bulges, experiencing ongoing pain and quitting his job. Morris also claimed injury. At trial, Nicholas argued Bradley Johnson should have yielded the right of way, while Bradley Johnson claimed Derrick Johnson was speeding. The jury found the defendants liable, assigning 70% to Bradley Johnson and Perdue Transportation and 30% to Derrick Johnson and Chisholm. Nicholas settled with Bradley Johnson and Perdue Transportation for $2.5 million. Natalie Morris; & Kester Nicholas v. Bradley M Johnson; Perdue Transportation Inc; Marvin Chisholm; & Derrick Johnson, No. 23451/09
Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you were a victim of a truck accident it is important to have experienced representation. The rules that apply to trucks are complicated and distinguishable from the rules that apply to cars. Thus, it is critical that you have legal representation who is familiar with the nuances of the laws that apply to truck accidents to ensure that your case receives the best possible outcome. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss the details of your case. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
When my mom, who is suffering from dementia, faced a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit, I contacted Stephen Bilkis of the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Not only did he provide a strategy for defending the claim, he also advised me on steps to take to avoid future personal liability. Whether you are the defendant or plaintiff in an injury case, I highly recommend Mr. Bilkis. S.M.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
I had my first encounter with Mr. Stephen Bilkis three years ago over the phone. He and his staff have been nothing but courtesy and professional. Their hard work ended with a large six-figure settlement for my case. I would highly recommend you contact his office. I want to give a special THANK YOU to Ms. Tricia Krapf. She always made me feel like a priority and was always kind and professional over the phone and email. I highly recommend them to anyone in need of legal representation. Celesta